Are you irritated by the summer heat? Flushed with anger? Plagued by hot flashes? Long ago, the yogis discovered a cooling pranayama practice that can soothe you in the time it takes to drink a glass of water.
Deep in the Himalayas, ancient sages observed and imitated the world around them in the noble attempt to master body, breath, and mind. They noticed the curve of a bird’s lower beak, a new green leaf uncurling, and the hiss of a cobra—and emulated those shapes and sounds in a practice called sitali (the cooling breath). In this pranayama, the inhalation is moistened as it passes through the curl of the tongue (alternately described as a bird’s beak and an uncurling leaf), so that you are “drinking” water-saturated air
Yogis, long ago, discovered that Sitali Pranayama (cooling breath) was a great way to soothe, relax and cool body and mind.
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Increased concentration
- Controls hunger and quenches the thirst
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Helps bad breath
Can’t Curl Your Tongue? Try Sitkari
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
Gently press your lower and upper teeth together and separate your lips as much as you comfortably can, so your teeth are exposed to the air.
Inhale slowly through the gaps in the teeth and focus on the hissing sound of the breath.
Close the mouth and slowly exhale through the nose.
Repeat up to 20 times. This practice is called sitkari. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, in addition to its cooling effects, sitkari balances the endocrine system and builds vitality.
Because sitali and sitkari reduce body temperature, they are best practiced during hot weather or after a vigorous asana or heating pranayama practice.
Varvara Solomonidou,Wellness Specialist, Personal Trainer, Seminar & Conference Lecturer, Pilates Master Trainer “AthensTrainers® Ultimate Pilates System®”, Member of Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), Member of European Lifestyle Medicine Organization (ELMO), DNAFit® Certified Trainer, General Manager & Owner of AthensTrainers®
PHOTOS: FOTIS FOTOPOULOS
MODEL: KONSTANTINA BAKARA, YOGA INSTRUCTOR, ATHENSTRAINERS® ASSOCIATE
SOURCE: BODY MAGAZINE, ISSUE 51